Obstructive Sleep Apnea And Snoring
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Disorder can be a stressful and uncomfortable condition for anyone to have to cope with. Obstructive Sleep Apnea Disorder causes you to have trouble breathing at night, and is often characterized by long pauses and gasps in between periods of loud snoring.
Individuals with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Disorder experience their symptoms due to the muscles in the airway relaxing and losing their rigidity during sleep thus collapsing in on itself. It is normal for your muscles to relax during sleep, but not to the extent to which your airway is blocked.
The vibration between the collapsed muscles in the airway is what causes the loud snoring associated with the disorder. Apnea disorders can be extremely dangerous, even deadly, because they effect your ability to breathe at night.
What Are Some Warning Signs My Loud Snoring Could Be Related To Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
- Pauses in between snores accompanied with ‘gasps’ for air
- Excessive daytime tiredness, and moodiness
- Past or current drug/alcohol abuse can contribute to OSA
- Upper body obesity
- Preexisting syndromes that involve abnormalities in your mouth, jaw, or nose
- Past Speech Correction Surgery
What Should I Expect When I Visit My Physician?
Diagnosing OSA isn’t always exactly a clear cut process. Your physician will ask about your medical history, sleeping habits, and conduct a physical examination to see if there is any visible obstruction in your airway.
Many different sleep and mood related disorders must be ruled out before a positive diagnosis of OSA can be determined. Depression, drug use, insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome can cause some of the same symptoms as OSA.
You may be asked to keep a sleep journal and document your sleep/wake times and symptoms. If the physician can not fully rule out other causes by physical examination alone he or she may require you to do a take a sleep test which is usually conducted at home, but may be done in a lab as well.
There are two types of tests which are used for the diagnosis
- Polysomnography – This test requires attaching electrodes to different in the body, a device to record loudness of snoring, and a breathing tube. The electrodes measure many different physiological aspects including your muscle tension during sleep, your rapid eye movement, brain waves during sleep, heart rate, air flow from your nose and mouth, oxygen level in blood, and how loud you snore throughout the night.
- Oximetry – This test is sometimes used for patients with a high probability for sleep apnea as it does not measure as many variables as a polysomnography test. In fact, oximetry is only one aspect of the many variables tested for in a Polysomnography test. Oximetry measures the level of oxygen in the bloodstream and can detect periods when the individual is experiencing a long pause in between breaths. Oximetry alone is not considered a reliable indicator of OSA unless the individual already is predisposed to the symptoms and would score a 15 or higher on the Sleep Apnea Clinical Score.
Treatment options include
- CPAP or BiPAP
- Behavioral Modifications
- Mouthpieces That Help Open The Airway
- Exercises To Tone Muscles In Airway
- Chin Straps/Pillows/Nose Clips